All of our books have a small dot on their spine.
It’s one thing to try to keep your books physically under control. It’s another task for Sisyphus to keep track of your books in general. Here’s how I do it:
- Create a free account over on LibraryThing. Set up three collections: One for the books currently in our possession; “Library.” A second for books we’d love to have join us; “Wishlist.” A third for books that have passed through; “Previous.”
- Get some small stickers, (1/4″ round ChromaLabels work great,) and some sticky notes.
- Add each book to your “Library” collection in LT and put a sticky note inside the cover marked “LT”. I also track digital books, so I tag all the books in LT with “physical” or “digital”. Then put a dot on the spine so you don’t have open the book to check if there’s a sticky note inside.
- Why both? Some books can’t accept the spine sticker, and sometimes the dot falls off. So the sticky inside the cover is the definitive mark that a book is in LT.
- New book arrives? Add it to LT’s “Library” collection, tagged as “physical”, insert sticky note in the front, and add a dot to spine.
- Book leaving my possession? Remove the dot and sticky note, and shift the book to the “Previous” collection in LT.
As you come across books you might want to read, add them to your Wishlist collection in LT. My Wishlist contains hundreds of books. (That’s not a brag, that’s a confession.) LT has a notes field and I often leave a clue about where/why I’m adding the book. When I later—having forgotten all about that book—go into LT to add it, only to discover it’s already there… “Hmmm, that’s twice now I’ve ‘discovered’ this book. Maybe I should read this book sooner than ‘some day’?” Such books I then tag, “priority.” I’ve about ~20 books tagged priority at the moment.
Yet another reason this is useful is that you can search via the LT website, or the mobile app, to see if you have/have-had any book. You can even wander through a bookstore, and know that your Wishlist is always in your pocket.
Does that sound crazy? Dammnit, that does sound crazy now that I typed it all out.